City Council Meeting Degenerates Into Weird, Chaotic Mess 

click to enlarge Chris Dorsey is carried out of Richmond City Hall on Monday night.

Ned Oliver

Chris Dorsey is carried out of Richmond City Hall on Monday night.

A failed candidate for sheriff was forcibly removed from City Council Chambers and then carried out of the building on his back by three uniformed police officers. Another man’s refusal to yield during a public comment session led City Council President Charles Samuels to order the packed meeting into recess. When the meeting was reconvened a subsequent speaker called Samuels a “dingo.”

City Council’s regular meeting lost most semblances of order and decorum in a chaotic half hour period Monday night.

The oddness began when Chris Dorsey, who ran for sheriff last year and is a regular voice during City Council’s public comment periods, was removed from the chamber before he had a chance to speak.

Dorsey’s name appeared on the sign up sheet as “A Man (Formerly Chris Dorsey)” and listed the planned subject as “Flawed Government -- IRS & City Council Corruption.”

But when Dorsey sat in the chamber's press gallery, council's communications director, Steve Skinner, asked him to leave. Dorsey, who wears a handgun at most meetings, asserted he had the right to sit there. During the exchange Skinner said he thought Dorsey pointed at his gun. Dorsey said he hadn't.

Skinner called over a police officer, who twisted Dorsey's arm behind his back and escorted him out. Once in the hallway, the sound of his repeated yells filtered through the chamber’s heavy wooden doors.

“I’m being kidnapped,” Dorsey shouted as officers carried him out of the building.

Once outside, Dorsey was issued a no-trespass order and released. “I’m going to sue those degenerate motherfuckers,” he said. “Man, this might be one of the first quadrillion dollar lawsuits of all time.”

Back in the chambers, Samuels, who has in the past threatened to “turn this building around and go back home” when meetings turned rowdy, made good on his promise.

He called a recess and walked out of the chambers when an opponent of a plan to lease Monroe Park to a private conservancy refused to yield after he was informed the public comment period on that issue would be later in the meeting.

When the microphones in the chambers were cut off the man, undeterred, continued, only in a much louder voice.

Things deteriorated from there until jeering from the crowd gave way to murmuring.

Things went only slightly better for Samuels after he resumed the meeting. Members of the audience, many of whom are concerned privatization of the park will prevent homeless from congregating there, repeatedly interrupted Samuels with shouts challenging the order of proceedings.

City Council went on to unanimously approve the plan, which calls for $3 million in city funds and $3 million in private donations to renovate the park. The conservancy has insisted it doesn't plan to stop homeless residents from congregating in the park or private groups from feeding them there.

Before the vote Mo Karnage, a member of a local anarchist collective and an organizer of opposition to the Monroe Park plan, went up to the podium and told Samuels he is a “dingo.”

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